Most people dream of going to the Mediterranean at some stage in their lives. Lazing on a Greek Isle, swimming in the azure sea, wandering the vineyards of Italy and mixing with the rich and famous
Issue: December 2001
Most people dream of going to the Mediterranean at some stage in their lives. Lazing on a Greek Isle, swimming in the azure sea, wandering the vineyards of Italy and mixing with the rich and famous. Fortunately these days, thanks to increased wages, changing lifestyles and affordable air travel, more people are able to realise their dream. It's an achievable aspiration that reflects just how simple globe trotting has become.
At present the world economy is also aiding the affordability of travel to certain regions. The exchange rate between the Italian lira and the Aussie dollar is good. So, even though the cost of living is still high there, you get more lira for your Aussie dollar to play with.
And while the exchange rates are good for Australians in Italy it also works out well back home if you are looking at buying a new luxury motoryacht. The strong Australian dollar against the lira means that now you can buy a luxury Italian boat for around the same sort of money it costs to buy a locally built vessel. This opens the door to a multitude of options for new boat buyers, enabling them to get real value for money in their next purchase.
Obviously the vessels we review in these Dreamboat stories come from the upper end of the market, but that's what makes them dreamboats, we can aspire to owning one.
The Cranchi Mediterranee 50 is a case in point. Retailing at around A$1.2m she's not cheap, but you get an awful lot of luxury and extras for the money.
This Dreamboat is par excellence, with large open spaces and three roomy cabins that take no space away from the elegant, spacious saloon and fully equipped galley. But while she boasts plenty of room below decks, it's the layout and size of the main cockpit that's the real mind blower. There's even an onboard garage that's big enough to house a 4m tender.
This boat is 50 feet of sheer indulgence featuring luxurious interiors made of American cherry wood, teak, Alcantara, silk and genuine leather.
Out on the water the twin shaftdrive Volvo Penta TAMD 74P 480hp diesels propel the Cranchi 50 with ease. These engines are hi-tech, compact, in-line six cylinder motors with built-in turbo chargers that produce useful power, but limit fuel consumption, exhaust emissions and noise output.
The new Volvo Penta TAMD 74P also contains an intelligent Electronic Diesel Control. This is an electronic control system connected to sensors located in strategic parts of the boat to adjust any lack of balance in engine speeds, optimise fuel delivery and improve performance.
After the Modern Boating team had a stint behind the wheel we were all in agreement as to the top handling characteristics of this boat.
At the time of the Modern Boating test, the team at the Australian Powerboat Centre, who import Cranchi boats to Australia, were still trialing different propellers to obtain optimum performance from the hull/engine combination. Data from Italy shows the 27 knot top speed of the 50 will increase to 31 knots when the new props are fitted.
Driving the Cranchi 50 was as easy as driving the family car. The engines respond quickly and effortlessly to commands from the electronic gear and throttle controls, while the combination of sharp bow entry and wide chines keep the ride smooth and dry.
Like any 50 footer she had a fairly wide turning circle, but it's not excessive. The boat is able to complete figure of eight turns with ease. Plus even punching head on into the sea we took no spray over the screen.
A bow thruster is also a standard feature on the Cranchi 50, so manoeuvring around the marina becomes an easy affair.
For those who are unfamiliar with the brand, the Cranchi story begins 131 years ago. The company started off building small, wooden lake boats on the shores of San Giovanni di Bellagio, Italy in 1870, before developing into the industrial production of pleasure boats.
Exactly 100 years after the company was founded, having created a well-defined market share for itself, the boat yard recognised the need for more space to expand production. It found the ideal site to build its new factory at Valtellina.
At the new location in Piantedo, Aldo Cranchi founded the modern company with Tullio Monzino. The management remains unaltered today. It's a true family business. Aldo, who is now training his son Guido to take over the helm when he retires, still reads every fax that comes into the factory.
Yes, I did say fax. While the business has an excellent website and email facility in the service department, if you want to contact Aldo it's the fax or nothing. After reading each fax he initials them so he knows about everything that's happening around him. Right down to the next coffee order for the tea room. Now that's really keeping a finger on the pulse.
Experience and tradition mean much at Cranchi. This Italian passion is clearly evident in the craftsmanship and styling that goes into every vessel the firm builds. The Cranchi boat building factory covers 70,000 square metres, of which almost 30,000 are covered.
The company's move in the early 1990s, into the market segment of boats longer than 40' required a massive increase in production infrastructures. The new departments, built to address the most stringent standards of comfort and safety, offer the best possible conditions for high quality production.
Since 1970, more than 14,500 boats have rolled off the Cranchi production line to be sold to buyers in 45 countries around the world. Cranchi is convinced that the success of a brand depends partly on the innovation of its processing, its back up service and the ongoing quality of the vessels. And it shows. This Cranchi Mediterranee 50 is a magnificent example of the boat-builder's art.
This boat is 15.3m long, has a beam of 4.33mm, weighs 14,300kg, sleeps six people and carries 1600lt of fuel. The boat is a real party animal with massive amounts of open space ideal for entertaining.
After stepping aboard the Mediterranee 50 a walkway leads you into the main cockpit. Next to this walkway is the tender garage, which is cavernous. In addition to housing a tender it's capable of storing a ton of gear should the need arise.
Atop the garage it's heavily padded and an ideal place to stretch out and soak up a few rays in comfort.
This whole area is surrounded by a stainless steel grab rail so even when the going gets rough passengers can quickly steady themselves. Forward of this sun pad is a large L-shaped lounge, which surrounds a generous table.
To port there's a BBQ, sink and wet bar, so a cold drink is always close at hand. The main cockpit features teak flooring.
The exterior seating is heavy duty, UV resistant, marine-grade vinyl, which will give years of trouble-free wear.
Sitting at the raised helm station, the skipper has uninterrupted views to all points. The level of electronics fit-out is as comprehensive as the levels of luxury accessories used throughout this vessel. GPS, chart plotter, sounder, AM/FM CD stereo unit, VHF radio, she's got the lot.
Out on the forward deck is another large sun pad. This whole foredeck and bow area is surrounded by a thigh-high bow rail, so even when underway the figurehead can recline here safely.
Plenty of thought has also gone into this bow rail as it features dual fender racks on the port and starboard sides and an in-built seat with back rest at its apex. Here a crew member can sit securely if the ground tackle requires any attention.
Climb down the teak steps into the main saloon and the extent of the onboard luxury really strikes home. The distinctive smell of leather invades your senses and fine joinery surrounds you. From the beautiful handcrafted wooden table, surrounded by a superbly designed U-shaped lounge, to the deep-pile carpet of the main saloon and teak of the galley floor.
The oversized galley is also a work of art, with smooth flowing lines, curved cupboards and more storage space than your normal household kitchens. The master stateroom would leave even the most luxurious five-star hotel room behind with its immense island bed, ample hanging lockers and well-appointed en suite. Both guest cabins are spacious. The aft cabin features a double bed, while the starboard accommodation has twin bunks.
The Cranchi Mediterranee 50 is rated to carry a maximum of 14 people, so on-water party cruises with family and friends are definitely on the agenda. The only problem you will probably encounter is like the refugees on the Australian Navy Ship the Manoora, your guests won't want to get off at the end of the day